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I’m still in holiday mode, and since I picked a challenge of reading at least a book a month 2 years ago I still regularly read but the list of unread books is getting thinner.

I was wondering what books are on other people’s list, as I feel lobsters is somewhat of a community and we roughly share some common interests.

Also a why you like (or dislike) the book seems like a good thing to mention.

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      I’ve been slowly going through Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent. It’s slow going because you can only read so much about how your country (USA) supported death squads and the media absolutely failed to report it at the time before you have to set the book down and watch something happy on YouTube. I like that it lays out a model for how the state-backed mass media propaganda machine works, then demonstrates cases where the model’s predictions hold up. I’m not very far, but it’s also important to know where a model falls short, and I’m still waiting to see that.

      I also just got The World Atlas of Whiskey in the mail, so I’ll start reading that bit by bit. So far it’s got some nice diagrams of the distilling process for different styles (single malt, Irish single pot still, bourbon, etc), maps, and cross references for recommendations.

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        Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent

        maybe jump over to Syntactic Structures? I haven’t gotten very far myself. Might be a bit more “euphoric” inducing.

        Colorless green ideas sleep furiously

        I think I read some of The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory but didn’t get very far nor retained most of it…

    2. 7

      Fiction: In the past couple of weeks I read Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, and The Woman in Black.

      Non-fiction (non-technical): The Devil in the White City, a book about the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the serial killer H. H. Holmes who killed many people during the Exposition, to the point of building a “murder castle”.

      (Looking at the above, I feel the need to point out that I am not a serial killer.)

      Non-fiction (technical): Programming Rust: It seems more accessible than The Rust Programming Language.

      With the older kid: The Mark of Athena, which is the third (?) book in the second pentalogy of the Percy Jackson series. My older son loves Percy Jackson and I have to admit, it’s pretty good.

      With the younger kid: Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, a spin-off book from Judy Blume’s Fudge series told from their classmate Sheila’s perspective. It’s fine but I’m having trouble making a sufficient number of distinct voices for all the characters.

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        I thought you could visit hholmes house but it has fallen and has been replaced by a post office.

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          That post office is definitely haunted.

    3. 7

      list of unread books is getting thinner

      Ever since I came to know about https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/ sub, my TBR has exponentially increased (it’s in thousands now). My average working hours per week is about 30 and reading is my favorite hobby. I’ve averaged 80+ books for past 5 years. Loads of self-published books are to my liking, so getting a Kindle Unlimited subscription has been wonderful.

      My favorite books from last year were:

      • Wintersteel, The Lost City of Ithos, Diamantine, The Torch that Ignites the Stars, Super Powereds
        • these come under progression fantasy sub-genre, my current favorite (think anime like Naruto, Hunter x Hunter, etc but without fillers, fan-service, etc for these books… and these are all originally written in English, so no translation issues)
      • Age of Empyre - last in 6 book classical fantasy series, well written characters, I teared up a few times
      • Sourdough - well written slice-of-life, contemporary sci-fi setting with a dash of magical realism
      • Dawnshard and Rhythm of War - part of epic Stormlight Archive series, one of my all time favorites, but becoming difficult to enjoy given all the mental scars suffered by the characters (which is one of the biggest selling points, and it helped me as well, but too much of anything isn’t good)
      • Catching Cinders - a nice Cindrella retelling

      I wrote a blog post (https://learnbyexample.github.io/2020-favorite-fiction/) for above books. See also: https://www.reddit.com/r/suggestmeabook/ and https://www.reddit.com/r/booksuggestions/

      This year, new books/series I’m looking forward to read are Street Cultivation, Piranesi and The House in the Cerulean Sea, The Shadows of Dust, To sleep in a sea of stars, The Tea Master and the Detective (and many others from never ending TBR list)

    4. 5

      I’m currently reading the following:

      • The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn by Richard Hammond, a great book, with lots of insights into how to be a good scientist from somebody who was present at the beginning of the computer revolution.
      • Game Theory: An Introduction by Steve Tadelis: I’m reading this for a university course on game theory. It’s good and clear, and am enjoying doing the exercises.
      • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss: I just finished chapter 1, so not much to report yet.
      • The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels: I’m not a communist but I am a political scientist so I figured I’d take a look. Meh.
      • The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday: This is my second year reading the daily stoic (I read it in 2019, and plan on reading it again in 2021). I subscribe strongly to virtue ethics and a lot of that is derived from stoicism. This book is a great way to integrate practical philosophy into my day-to-day life.

      I’d like to read more philosophical fiction this year (after really enjoying Atlas Shrugged last year), so I’m hoping to read The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and Invisible Cities this year. My readings lists are here: 2021 (growing), 2020, 2019.

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        The Communist Manifesto isn’t a very representative work, it’s just short enough to occasionally include on children’s reading lists etc… It was written quite early on in his life, and Marx backed away from several of the key points as he grew older. If you want to better understand the ideas of his that continue to have significant influence on politics, I would strongly recommend the book An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital by Michael Heinrich for a fairly short overview, written by one of the world’s foremost Marx scholars who also does a great job of applying criticism to the ideas that haven’t shaken out the way that Marx imagined.

        I found “Foundations of Economics” by Yanis Varoufakis (he was an econ professor at the time, this is before he became the Greek Finance Minister during their 2008 crisis) to be an excellent follow-up that traced the history of economics since Smith, through Ricardo and Marx and into the neoclassical era, and showing how many of the Marx’s ideas continue to be highly influential outside of Economics, not because they are poor predictors of behavior, but because of the significant effort to “de-politicize” the field of Economics. This book is a lot heavier on math, but it’s loaded with a lot of interesting modern political perspectives as well, and the math-y bits can be skipped pretty easily.

        If you are interested in even more recent global political economics, I would strongly recommend the book Global Political Economy by Ravenhill. The bits about Bretton Woods, inequality growth since its dissolution in 1971, and various global financial institutions are excellent.

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        Glad to hear more stoicism going around. I have not read the daily stoic yet, I’ll get myself a copy immediately. Idk if you have already read pigliucci’s “how to be a stoic”, if not, I’d recommend it. Also I’d love to have a good conversation about those things, but I’ve not found the right forum yet.

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          I’ve read How to be a Stoic, and to be honest, I don’t rate it as highly as other books on stoicism. I guess the book is somewhat unusual in how it tries to get the core ideas across using pseudo dialogs with Epictetus, I can see how others would like that (e.g. I think it worked well in Godel, Escher and Bach).

          As for other stoicism books (if anybody is interested), I can strongly recommend “Lessons in Stoicism: What Ancient Philosophers Teach Us about How to Live” by John Sellars. It’s a short book (with a beautiful cover), which neatly explains the core aspects of stoicism. I think it’s a great introduction to practical stoicism.

    5. 5

      I picked up Dune over the holiday period, but it feels pretty slow going so far, although I’ve heard such great things I’m going to push through.

      Otherwise, I’ve also been going through programming Phoenix 1.4, to get more up to speed with Phoenix and start writing more Elixir in my spare time.

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        Dune is fantastic, though it pays to remember the era in which it was written.

        I will say though, and with sadness, that the sequels were just…not good (obviously that’s subjective but a lot of people seem to agree).

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          I thought Dune Messiah felt like the actual ending to Dune. Like the publishers cut it out of the first one and then turned it into another book after Dune got popular. It was much less action and a lot more internal philosophizing though.

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        Dune’s on my list of books to read next.

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        I started reading Dune a month ago but abandoned it midway through because it was not interesting. I know, I know… I would highly recommend Children Of Time by Adrian Chaikovsky.

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          I read Children of Time and it’s sequel Children of Ruin, and I absolutely loved every minute of it, I couldn’t get enough!

          Are there any other books that you enjoyed as much?

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        Just read Dune too. And I’ve been working on my Phoenix skills as well. Almost done with Programming Ecto and it surprisingly has made me feel much more confident with Phoenix than the Phoenix book. Understanding the data portion of applications always seems to make things click for me.

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        I re-read Dune and Heretics of Dune (the first book in the series I read) and Dune is the real deal. It’s essential (English-language) SF!


    6. 5

      Just finished ‘Leviathan Wakes”, book 1 of the expanse series. I liked it and will definitely read more of the series.

      Today I bought book 4 of the storm light archive on audible. When I started listening I realized I have no idea what’s going on and I forget everything, so I’ve decided to start over again at book 1 and go through the entire series again. Just started listening tonight and I forgot how great book 1 was.

      Non fiction I’m reading “The Whole-brain Child”.

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        The same thing happened to me with Rythme of War, I ended up looking at the coppermind wiki everytime there was a character I couldn’t remember.

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        Journey before Destination!

    7. 3

      fiction : a bunch of stanisław-lem. most notable among those cyberiad, invincible, his masters voice (loved all of them), just started children-of-time (adrian-tchaikovsky) seems kind of okay’ish so (approx 100 odd pages) far.

      non-fiction : arthur-c-clarke’s ‘how the world was one’ it gives a brief overview of birth of communication from laying the first trans-atlantic-cable to geo-stationary satellites. it is quite good actually.

    8. 3

      Fiction: Recently read the main Book of the New Sun series, started the coda just a couple days ago. They’re great books, a lot of fun to decode what’s going on behind the scenes. Also read and enjoyed some Houellebecq recently, he’s an interesting author (very pessimistic fella!).

      Nonfiction: Neoreaction a Basilisk, a fun collection of essays about online reactionaries. Slowly going through the Art of Electronics and rereading parts of Types and Programming Languages.

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        I’d stay away from “book 4” in the Book of the New Sun (Urth), I feel it was written as a cash-in.


    9. 3

      Fiction: Snow by Orhan Pamuk

      Non-fiction (non-technical): The Danish Way of Parenting by Jessica Joelle Alexander and iben Sandahl

      Non-fiction (technical): Absolute FreeBSD by Michael W. Lucas

    10. 2

      Fiction: Exhalation by Ted Chiang. Short sci-fi stories, all very thought provoking so far. One of my favourites from the last year!

      Non-fiction: The Sovereign Individual. Written in 1998, this book predicts a lot about the information age. The book revolves around the fact that every 500 years or so society has undergone major shifts, first with the agricultural and then industrial revolutions. The year 2000 marks the shift to the information revolution, and the book makes a bunch of predictions and relates them back to historical conditions. Things like cryptocurrency are predicted, and then they get wilder and start predicting the downfall of nation states as we know it and the rise of powerful “sovereign individuals”. I don’t agree with it all but it’s a pretty interesting read and they hit the nail on the head in parts. I picked it up because people have described it as the Brexit playbook (it was written by Lord Rees-Mogg, father of a current British MP). I feel I’m not doing it justice so I’ll drop this link: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/09/mystic-mogg-jacob-rees-mogg-willam-predicts-brexit-plans

      Also, if I can, I’ll drop this link to my reading list here: https://beta.readng.co/user/joe (Disclaimer: I’m working on this site with a couple friends, not trying to be spammy!)

    11. 2

      These are the books I’ve read in the past year that I really enjoyed

      • Exhalation by Ted Chiang. A volume of sci-fi short stories.
      • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. A modern fantasy about a young girl named January and her journey to find her father.
      • Circe by Madeline Miller. An emotional take on well-known Greek myths.
      • The Book of M by Peng Shepherd. Post-apocalyptic fiction, less on gore and more about love.
      • The Truth About Animals by Lucy Cooke. Non-fiction. A book on historical misconceptions about animals. Lucy uses a humorous take to shed light on the why we used to believe that stork brings babies and why scientists science.
      • Charlotte’s Web, The Penderwicks, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Never read them a kid. But reading them now along with my elementary school aged kids. Lovely stories.
    12. 2

      My year-end vacation task was climbing mount tsundoku so I have a lot to mention for once!

      Recently finished:

      Interface by Stephen Bury (a pseudonym for a pair of writers including Neal Stephenson – but that really feels like a Stephenson novel) was a wonderfully detailed and well-crafted mid-90s technothriller about using BCI to feed a politician poll data in real time as a set of emotional valences, as a kind of meditation on the cognitive distortions produced by electoral politics. Hard SF people will love it because it takes pains to be realistic in terms of the procedural complexities around such a plot device (the guy doesn’t get the implant or run for president until halfway through the book, with the first half focusing on the ramp up of both the tech and various attempts to circumvent political and bioethics concerns by motivated parties, the development and hitches of polling techniques optimized for this purpose, etc.), so it’s fun even if the phrase “the spectacle consumes all that opposes it” means nothing to you. This being the early 90s, Stephenson needed to justify some of the infrastructure development that now is simply a part of the world; if this were written in the present day, the experimental brain surgery unit would be moved from India to Russia or China (where advanced facilities already exist for high-profile experimental techniques sanctioned by the international bioethics community) & the polling tech would be reimagined as an app for existing smartwatch-based fitness trackers.

      Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams, an essay collection about japanese science fiction media, is sort of a mixed bag. It had some really great stuff – digging up obscure, forgotten, but weirdly influential works from the “irregular detective” genre and early SF, talking about translation issues and the special way loan words modulate tone, covering the ways that in the wake of the second world war, SF detourned existing bits of media in order to modulate and criticize nationalistic sentiments. On the other hand, it had some groaners: one essay tries to describe an episode of Evangelion but accidentally combines the plot of two different episodes and then goes on to attribute to the Ghost in the Shell manga some philosophical ideas introduced into the movie by Oshii and studiously avoided by Shirow; another essay fails to convincingly argue that the real message of the technical and animation failures of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is erasure of feminine agency; another tries to use a freudian model to distinguish between the sexual hangups of male otaku and those of fujoshi in order to explain porn trends. I don’t regret reading it, and even the worse essays at least had some interesting ideas, but it was really rough at times.

      Schizmatrix by Bruce Sterling was fantastic. I don’t usually like far-future space opera stuff, but Sterling’s keen sociological eye made the human elements feel very convincing. It reminds me of nothing so much as Accelerando, insomuch as it looks like a book about Wacky Future Technologies but it’s actually a book about how culture changes when people live for hundreds of years and how that relates to novelty-seeking behavior. It’s got some trenchant social criticism that I won’t spoil. It highlights Sterling’s interest in the rise, fall, and fragmentation of historical revolutionary groups (explored further in his recent Pirate Utopia). My copy is an early edition – apparently the only version of this story still in print is titled Schizmatrix Plus, and I don’t know how they differ.

      Men, Women, and Chainsaws, the seminal feminist film theory text on horror by Carol Clover, was trenchant and fantastic. Also amusing: it’s one of these books that one hears reference and summarized for years and then, when one finally reads it, realizes that basically everybody who talked about it was working off third-hand sources. This book is highly accessible (I mean, it leans a bit on freudian ideas but nothing that wouldn’t be familiar from cultural osmosis, and it uses some of the language of film theory but nothing that wasn’t covered in my high school film class) so there is no good excuse for someone interested in the subject not to simply read it. MWC is popularly known as the book about how slasher movies are sexist, but the very introduction of the book is an essay arguing directly against this claim and the thesis of the book is basically that all forms of horror popular from the 60s to the 90s worked toward gender equality (fighting both toxic masculinity and expectations of feminine passivity) by putting a mostly-male audience in the empathetic position of a female or feminine victim-hero. As a horror fan, this mirrors both the way I experience horror media and my sense of the horror community as a whole: horror fans seem to be people who are willing to go through unpleasant experiences in order to develop empathy and solidarity.

      Sign and Subject: Semiotic and Psychoanalytics Investigations into Poetry by Daniel Laferriere was mostly a waste of time. It’s a short book – seemingly a special issue of a yale linguistics journal – composed of essays by this guy, whose stated project is to synthesize freudian psychoanalysis with piercian semiotics. Early in the book, the guy completely mangles an explanation of shannon information, which should have been a red flag. Most of the examples and quotes are in french, german, or russian, with no translation provided – and I exercised by limited facility in these languages to figure out what was meant (once I figured out that the mystery slavic language was russian! He didn’t use cyrillic but instead a nonstandard transliteration into roman characters, one that used ‘j’ for ‘ya’, so for a while I thought it was polish, with which I have no familiarity). This is such an obscure work that none of you will probably ever stumble across it – I found it in the one dollar bin at a Yale book sale – but if you do, skip it.

      The Writer Within by Larry Bloom was entertaining enough, but shockingly, contained basically no writing advice. It was composed almost entirely of vignettes about various magazine stories Bloom had commissioned. If you are in the market for the kind of book the cover claims this is (i.e., one that will teach you how to improve your skills in writing literary nonfiction), skip it: the few bits of advice that are contained in here are trite and already-familiar (like “research your subject”, “don’t write about things that bore you”, “don’t let insecurity prevent you from submitting pieces”, “don’t write interview questions ahead of time for a profile piece”).

      Noctuary by Thomas Ligotti was entertaining enough, and had some real banger pieces. It also had a bunch of short pieces that nevertheless dragged. Apparently I lucked out in getting this book: it’s currently out of print and amazon wants hundreds of dollars for used copies.

      Currently reading:

      Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling is, like Interface, an interesting mix of extremely-relevant and extremely-dated. It takes place in 2022, featuring a couple who work in some kind of multinational co-op, and deals with the politics between rogue micronations whose economies are built on data piracy and off shore crypto-banking. I need to read more Sterling, because the more Sterling I read, the more Stephenson feels derivative: this is Cryptonomicon but written ten years earlier, featuring a company called “Rizome” three years before the first english translation of A Thousand Plateaus, and involves work-from-home teleconferencing and the use of augmented reality video-recording glasses that turn people into cyranoids. But because it was written in 1985, the expectation remains that all this stuff in some capacity works over the telephone network with its then-current pricing structures, so there’s some material establishing the comparative cost of live streaming versus pre-recording multiple video messages to be compressed together and sent in a batch.

      A Thousand Plateaus by Giles Deluze and Felix Guattari is extremely dense, but every chapter thus far has been rewarding because it keeps spawning interesting new ideas. I am reading it with a book club, which helps.

      Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times by Miriam Silverberg focuses on an interesting period in japanese culture – around 1910 to 1940, which I think might be the late taisho period? Anyhow, this is kind of the japanese equivalent of germany’s weimar period: an extremely neophilic cosmopolitan era, wherein a frenzied attempt was made to integrate all the new foreign cultural influences and make something uniquely japanese out of them. Silverberg looks at this through the lens of mass cultural products, which seems appropriate: this was the period of the irregular detective novel, of Edogawa Ranpo, of avant garde art (with russian movements like the constructionists and suprematists along with european ones like dada making waves in japan), of all the various intersecting political micro-ideologies that Sterling paints in Pirate Utopia staking out presences in japan, and of the introduction of the girls’ boarding school & the literary genres that came out of that. I haven’t gotten very far, but I expect it to be fascinating.

      I’m still slowly working my way through Stephen King’s The Stand, which was not quite as strange to read in the midst of a pandemic as people make it out to be, seeing as how only the beginning of the book involves one at all. I’m only 800 pages in, so I have a ways to go.

      I’m almost finished with In Search of the Miraculous, P. D. Ouspensky’s chronicle of his time with Gurdjieff’s Saint Petersburg group in the nineteen-teens. I’m reading it with a book club, and would not recommend it without one. There’s good stuff in there, but there’s also endless culty red flags.

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        I recently tried to suck up to Sterling on Twitter by suggesting a re-launch of Heavy Weather and Distraction but was brusquely shot down. They’re great books though and I recommend them (together with anything else Sterling has written).

    13. 2
      • Last two books of the stormlight series
      • Just finished “Babel”, which is about the world’s top languages
      • Before that it was “Cynefin”
      • I have the Stephen R. Donaldson Gap series up next
    14. 2

      For work I’m reading “AWS Automation Cookbook”, specifically because our devops team wants to move our CI away from Jenkins and into AWS codepipelines soon, and because we’ve been using AWS more in general, so it’s important to know more about it.

      Outside of work I’ve been reading through “OpenGL Insights,” a collection of articles about different topics related to newer versions of OpenGL (mostly 4.0+). I’ve been jumping around between articles, and they’re generally well written and informative, and I’ve learned quite a bit.

    15. 2

      Just finished my vacation and The Cradles series - https://www.goodreads.com/series/192821-cradle (first heard about it on lobters🙃).

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        If you’re on reddit, come join us at https://www.reddit.com/r/Iteration110Cradle/ and see https://www.reddit.com/r/ProgressionFantasy/ if you are interested in similar books

    16. 2

      Here are the books that I read last year and would recommend. The ordering is not significant.


      • Academic Exercises - K.J. Parker
      • Father of Lies, The - K.J. Parker
      • Shoring Up the Night - E.C. Static
      • Worlds that Never Were - Casey White
      • And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe - Gwendolyn Kiste
      • Objects in Dreams - Lisa Tuttle
      • The Halcyon Fairy Book - T. Kingfisher
        This book contains historic fairy tales with hilarious snarky commentary and the author’s own retellings.
      • Jackalope Wives and Other Stories - T. Kingfisher
      • Imago Sequence, The - Laird Barron
      • Prompt Me - W.P. Kimball

      YA Fantasy:

      • Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, A - T. Kingfisher
      • Minor Mage - T. Kingfisher
      • House of Diamond, The (and sequel) - Ursula Vernon


      • Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower - Tamsyn Muir
      • Nine Goblins - T. Kingfisher
      • Paladin’s Grace - T. Kingfisher
      • Swordheart - T. Kingfisher
      • Reynard the Fox (and its two sequels) - David Witanowski
      • Goblin Corps, The - Ari Marmell
      • Grey Bastards, The (and its sequel) - Jonathan French
        This series is like a cross between LOTR and Mad Max.
      • Vainquer the Dragon - Maxime Durand
      • Dragon Champion - E.E. Knight
        I haven’t tried the rest of the series yet.
      • My Death - Lisa Tuttle

      Science Fiction:

      • Last Astronaut, The - David Wellington
      • The Bone Flute - Lisa Tuttle


      • Breach, The - Patrick Lee


      • Sea of Glass - Dennis Parry
      • Grownup, The - Gillian Flynn
      • Saturn’s Return to New York - Sara Gran


      • Our Town - Thornton Wilder


      • Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism - L.A. Kauffman
      • American Hippopotamus - Jon Mooallem
        Everyone I have recommend this book to has loved it.
      • Rules of Thumb - Tom Parker
      • Sick Societies - Robert Edgerton

      Edited to break my recommendations into genres.

    17. 2


      1. The Effective Manager - Mark Horstman
      2. The Manager’s Path - Camille Fournier (next up)

      Last year I bought 5 amazing non-fiction books, but couldn’t sit for few minutes to even begin reading a single page. Recently I was reading an infrastructure blog post by https://chown.me (sorry, couldn’t recollect the username). In their blog I found a reference to reading list for engineering managers and bought the first two on a whim.

      For some deep seated reason, I started reading The Effective Manager. As a classic INTP and a person with IC mindset, this book is opposite of my values. Yet, I kept reading on. I was intrigued by how the author speaks to me directly through the text. Though I have never been a manager, I did have the same thought processes he presents, in the exact manner he suggests, when he introduces the first concepts. By the time I finish the book, I will have turned myself into the often reviled “manager”. Just kidding, title or no title, the book is more about managing people while also achieving results.

    18. 2

      I enjoy multiple books at the same. I switch between them, depending on my mood and preference.

      Currently I am reading:

      The big picture - Sean Carroll — I am enjoying this one quiet a bit. I had not heard about Poetic Naturalism before. It helps me put further pieces into the puzzle that is my own world view.

      The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe - Steven Novella — Basically an anthology in skepticism. I have been listening to their podcast for as long as I can remember, and I don’t find this book adds much on top of that. But, still worth the read.

      Happiness by design - Paul Dolan — This is not a book that I would normally pick up. It was given to me by a very dear friend (one who has never before given me a book!). So, I am reading it!

      Competitive Programming 4 - Steven Halim — I’m closing in on forty, and just now picking up competitive programming :)

      Sherlock Holmes - The definitive collection — I’ve been reading this for some time now. I love these books and don’t want them to ever end.

      Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style - Benjamin Dreyer — An awesome book on writing and editing English. I am reading this one for the second time and probably will reread it again when I am done.

    19. 1


      • The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi. As a friend of mine put into words: it’s like “Game of Thrones” but with spaceships. Really recommended The Interdependency series.
      • Sabotaje, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. A book based on the spanish’s civil war.


      • Clean Architecture by Uncle Bob. I’m really new in the world of software architecture and I think it’s a start point good enought to get me introduced. I’m not using the book as a bible since I like to know, first the theory, and then the way it’s done in the real world (I still have to see a 100% clean architecture application in my life, until now, I didn’t see any).

      I also got started reading comics during 2020, so right know I’m into Donny Cates’ Venom and Thor series, the new Ghost Rider series, Dan Slott’s Fantastic 4 and Garen Ennis’s The Punisher.

    20. 1

      Only reading one book at the moment; Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. Not my usual style, but it’s quite decent and has its moments.

      I plan on reading a lot this year. On my next up list is:

      • Ubik, and other novels by Philip K. Dick
      • Continue the Sprawl trilogy by William Gibson (I’ve read Neuromancer)
      • Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
      • Dune, by Frank Herbert
    21. 1

      The God of Small Things. The author is very descriptive about everything.

    22. 1

      Fiction: I’m listening to War Lord (The Last Kingdom series) by Bernard Cornwell and reading Rhythm of War (Stormlight Archive series) by Brandon Sanderson.

      Non-Fiction: Re-reading Practical Combine by Donny Wals and working my way through Hands-on Rust by Herbert Wolverson

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      I’m a hundred pages into Cryptonomicon. It is a good book but it seems I have little interest in fiction these days.

      As I’m involved in a large-scale change initiative at work, I read quite a few non-fiction book around that. They mesh together, so it depends on what aspect you are interested in.

      • The Culture Code . What makes a team effective? What do we aim for when to change a company. Comprehensive and well grounded in science.
      • The Heart of Change. Apparently, the classic comprehensive book about large-scale change. Unfortunately, just anecdotal evidence but there is probably nothing better.
      • Switch. Also about change but more generic. Better ground in science though.
      • Turn the Ship Around! Story of a submarine commander and the best book about empowerment, which is one core aspect about the change we go for.
      • Influence (review not written yet). We need to influence a lot of people at my company, so how does one do that?
      • Made to Stick. When communicating to many people, how will to make my message stick?

      In general, these books provide good overlapping information how to change a dysfunctional corporation. What I still don’t know is how figure out where to start…

    25. 1

      Currently reading Noble House, Whirlwind and Dracula waiting next. Probably some more Expanse next (read the first one during Christmas).

    26. 1

      I’ll go just with those that I’m carrying around in my bag at the moment.

      The Back Channel by William Burns. I would give it 6/10, as it’s written by a career beurocrat, but it’s a good alternative narrative to how a lot of events have been covered in the last 30 years by the anti-american propaganda, and since he’s not really trying to reveal any secrets or create any sensations, all of his views are pretty well backed up by public sources, which just have fallen out of the spotlight.

      I’m also switching to How to win on the battlefield by Rob Johnson, Michael Whitby and John France from time to time. It’s a strange compilation of combat tactic and strategies from all historic eras, and I’m still not sure if it’s really a history book or a army professional manual. But for a person who never had any military training, it still reads very easily, and even gives an impression that you understand something about commanding armies in battle — although as a strategy game enthusiast, all my attempts to put these new ideas to work in games like Steel Division, Wargame and Unity of Command have fallen flat. May be it’s because strategy games don’t actually test strategy skills and instead are more like puzzles or click-speed tests, or it just may be the case that I’m very bad at it. Still, highly recommend if you’re into this kind of thing, 8/10.

    27. 1

      Finished almost all Brandon Sanders cosmere this year, now I’ve started the lensman saga.

      Techwise I’m going trough software telemetry, devops anti patterns and a bunch of kube books.and few on rust. I’m hoping to stumble into something as inspiring as klepmann’s data or Sam Newman’s books about micro services migration .

      Others I’m slowly reading : “how to measure anything”, “liars and outliers“, and massimo pigliucci’s last two books on stoicism and other religions/philosophy of life.

    28. 1

      Im currently reading Game playing with BASIC, a book authored in the 70s and The People Vs. Tech.

      I have a shelf of vintage computing books from the late 50s to the early 90s that I like to digest alongside modern books on astrophysics, sociology and various theories around quantum mechanics.

    29. 1

      I’m not great at book multitasking, I usually read one book at a time.

      Right now I’m (slowly) reading Hofstadter’s “An Eternal Golden Braid”. It’s a challenging reading, but rewarding.

    30. 1
      • More From Less - Andrew McAfee
      • Big Dirty Money - Jennifer Taub
      • American Democracy - Leman
      • Accountable - Warren
      • The Best Presidential Writing A Promised Land - Obama My Own Words - Ginsburg
    31. 1

      Fiction: I’m currently reading The Martian Chronicles, with Zen in the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance on the afterburner and a copy of The Midnight Library having just arrived.

      Non-Fiction: My grandmother just self-published a memoir and gave me a copy for Christmas. That’s been my main focus since then.

      Technical: I’ve got a couple technical books I’ve been meaning to get through; Distributed Algorithms; Building Microservices; Kafka: The Definitive Guide; but between cooking, the other books I’ve got, and learning guitar I probably won’t get through them for a while.

    32. 1

      Science And Cooking, book version of Harvard class that does intro to organic chemsitry through super fancy cooking. Really, really loving it. It keeps going back and forth between describing molecular behavior and then back up to texture and flavor in your mouth.

      Each recipe is a lab on some concept, like how heat, acidity, pressure, shear forces and enzymes denature or modify proteins, carbs and fats.

    33. 1

      Right now, Waiting for Godot by Beckett and The Cossacks by Tolstoy. Best book I’ve finished recently was Eros and Civilization by Marcuse.

    34. 1

      I’m re-reading the first dandelion dynasty novel, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. Plan on re-reading it and the second novel in anticipation of the third which comes out in april.

    35. 1

      I’m a couple of pages into “Monitoring with prometheus” from James Turnbull for a second time now. I’ve read it before but it was quite some time ago and I feel I need a refresher as I completely forgot some things since I wasn’t using the knowledge I picked up last time. I remember liking the book, though, and found it was written in a clear and easy to understand way.

      The second book I was going to start reading is “The Mist” from Stephen King. I came across it and remember reading it at least 15 years ago now. This one is more of an emotional thing to read again, as I still remember what I was doing at the time and I wasn’t feeling too great. I always like how King is able to vividly project the atmosphere of the subjects in my mind, and no idea why but this one stuck me the most.

    36. 1

      I’m re-reading the first dandelion dynasty novel, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. Plan on re-reading it and the second novel in anticipation of the third which comes out in april.

    37. 1

      I’m re-reading the first dandelion dynasty novel, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. Plan on re-reading it and the second novel in anticipation of the third which comes out in april.

    38. 1

      I just finished Circe by Madeline Miller, which had been on my list for a while.

      Was a very interesting book, and offered a very different take on the usual Greek tales of gods and heros. Though it’s probably best if you read The Odyssey beforehand, I feel like I missed a fair bit of context since I didn’t.

      Overall though I quite liked it.

    39. 1

      I’m reading High Performance MySQL [1], it’s about benchmarking and tuning MySQL, very interesting!

      [1] https://smile.amazon.com/dp/1449314287

    40. 1

      non-fiction: C# in Depth, Fourth Edition by Jon Skeet

      fiction: Kalmann by Joachim B. Schmidt. Just finished reading it a day ago. I can really recommend this book. One of my favorite ones so far.

    41. 1


      • Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown
      • Umbrella Academy by Way/Bá


      • The Anarchy by William Dalrymple
    42. 1
      • Douglas Hofstadter: I am a Strange Loop (half through it)
      • If you read French and are looking for a job : “Mon CV dans ta gueule” by Alain Wegscheider (translate “My CV in your face”) is a dark novel on pro-active method in job research. I tend to read it a few times to relax.
    43. 1
      • The Iron Heel
      • The Social Contract
      • Truman (Chapter 6 - “The Senator from Pendergast”), McCullough
    44. 1

      Fiction: Season of Migration to the North, in the original Arabic. I’ve read the English translation and it’s one of my favorite books.

      Non-fiction: The Real World of Technology by Ursula Franklin. Read a few of the lectures in my first year of undergrad and figured it was about time to read the rest.

    45. 1

      fiction: I just finished rereading Dune (and I liked it less than I remembered)

      non-fiction: Gary Taubes The Case for Keto, it seems good so far, but I already eat keto, so he doesn’t have much to sell me on

      technical: a Springer anthology Query Understanding for Search Engines, it’s interesting and relevant for my work

      with my kid: Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy, we’re reading a chapter together every night, so far it’s kind of a mixed bag, but it does make for some interesting discussions

    46. 1
    47. 1

      Currently: House of Suns, Alastair Reynolds

      What I read in 2020, modulo lots of chapters of various tech books:

      Mason's Rats: 3 Short Stories - Neal Asher
      The Line of Polity - Neal Asher
      Gridlinked - Neal Asher
      The Bosch: A Novella - Neal Asher
      Ancestral Night - Elizabeth Bear
      Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre - Max Brooks
      William Gibson's Archangel - William Gibson
      Agency - William Gibson
      The Outside - Ada Hoffmann
      The City We Became: A Novel - N. K. Jemisin
      The Tommyknockers - Stephen King
      The Institute: A Novel - Stephen King
      The Quantum Magician - Derek Künsken
      Red Pill: A novel - Hari Kunzru
      Chaos: Making a New Science - James Gleick
      88 Names: A Novel - Matt Ruff
      Bad Monkeys: A Novel - Matt Ruff
      The Mirage: A Novel - Matt Ruff
      Lovecraft Country: A Novel - Matt Ruff
      Bone Silence - Alastair Reynolds
      The Doors of Eden - Adrian Tchaikovsky
      Made Things - Adrian Tchaikovsky
      Blindsight - Peter Watts
      Echopraxia - Peter Watts
      The Hill - Iain Rob Wright
      Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors
      The Best Horror of the Year Volume 5
      The Best Horror of the Year Volume 11
      The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea
      The Hard SF Renaissance: An Anthology
      The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2019 Edition
      1. 1

        Curious what you’ll think of House of Suns. I found it… underwhelming.

        1. 1

          I haven’t been amazed by Revenger and Bone Silence, and so far House of Suns is in the same vein for me. However, they’re still good although not great, and I enjoy his writing style so much that it’s a pleasure regardless.

    48. 1
      • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
      • Finite Automata & Regular Expressions: Problems and Solutions
    49. 1

      To be honest: none at the moment. I bought quite a few in autumn, on fermenting foods, home butchering and curing/smoking meat and on soil science, but at the moment my brain has “allergy against text”. I cannot even binge watch some movies. Brain shuts down, I’d sleep all day. 2020 was somewhat overly stressful, I guess.

      What I enjoyed very much was watching almost all “clamptite”, “haywire clamper” and “Хомутатель” videos on the net and building all three for myself. Plus developing my own one, and yesterday jig #3 for pre-bending the wire clamps. Made pull tests on wire, looked up breaking loads in tables, did some calculations.

      Reclamped & wrapped all my air hoses yesterday, after my delivery of stainless steel locking wires finally arrived.

      I find it remarkable that I had to become 48 years old to learn of the existence of this technique. And that making with my hands tickled my brain in so many joyful ways that I did not even care about the 2°C in the unheated workshop.

    50. 1

      I just finished reading One Man’s Wilderness by Sam Keith about a man who travels to backcountry Alaska and builds himself a cabin using all natural materials and hand tools.

      Up next is The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein, been meaning to read this one for some time.

      1. 2

        I recently (well, around a year ago) read The Moon… for the first time. It’s surprisingly fresh for its age.

        If you want a “modern” take on the “libertarian moon” trope, look for Ian MacDonald’s recent Luna trilogy. http://gerikson.com/blog/books/read/Twice-on-a-Harsh-Moon.html

    51. 1

      The Language Construction Kit and The Color of Magic

      1. 1

        The Language Construction Kit is a great overview of how languages are put together, and shows science fiction authors having a better grasp of the subject that many of those ‘designing’ their own language.

    52. 1

      Out of what I read in 2020, I would most recommend:

      • Soft X-Ray/Mindhunters, an entirely wordless graphic novel but one of the most mindbending things I’ve read
      • 20020 by Jon Bois, the only person who can make me read about sports (read 17776 first if you haven’t!)
      • Until You Continue To Behave, a free dystopian ‘maximalist’ novel about working in tech, worth reading online for the music. Read it if you like this video!
      • Lisa See’s books The Island of Sea Women about freedivers on Jeju Island (Korea), and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane about pu-erh tea. She pours an incredible amount of research into these.
      • Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather, a nuns-in-space novella that manages to fit in a better-developed world than many novels.
      • Maria Dahvana Headley’s Beowulf, I want to see a live performance of this!
    53. 1
      • Fiction: Dead Man’s Walk by Larry McMurty (part of the Lonesome Dove series)

      • Non-fiction: Indwelling Sin by John Owen

      • Programming: Programming Ecto